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Former MCC Graduate Derik Johnson Named Head Girls Basketball Coach at Renville County West

Derik Johnson formerly of Slayton, son of Gail and Cal Johnson and grandson of Marlene Wajer, is set to take over as the new Renville County West Jaguars girl’s basketball coach. He is a 2007 graduate of Murray County Central (MCC) where he participated in football, basketball and baseball. After high school, Johnson attended Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall where he played a year of baseball. While at SMSU Johnson attained a double major and double minor all in education program.

Johnson is entering his second year as the elementary physical education teacher at RCW Schools. He is also the DAPE (Developmental and Adapted Physical Education) instructor at the school.

Before coming to RCW, Johnson taught at the Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop School District for four years. While at G.F.W he also gained some valuable coaching experience as an assistant coach for both baseball and boy’s basketball.

Johnson said, “Growing up, basketball was always my favorite sport, but I was active so I played just about everything. At college I knew baseball would take me further than basketball so that is what I played.”

Johnson’s coaching career started during college. He started coaching at the junior high level at MCC. He also volunteered to help out with youth summer programs.

“I actually went into teaching because I wanted to be a head coach someday. It provided the best opportunity to attain that early on,” commented Johnson.

DSU team wins regional cyber competition - MCC Graduate Dylan Johnson Part of Cyber Team

Knowing your enemy is just as important in cyber war as in other battles. A team of Dakota State University cyber students recently proved they know the mind of cyber enemies by winning first place in the Central Region Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition (CPTC).

Hackers are the enemy in cyber security, those sometimes referred to as the “black hats.” To help university cyber security students understand hackers, they practice black hat offense in addition to white hat defense. This is called pen testing, or penetration testing.

“When students play the role of a hacker, they are put in the mindset of a potential black hat operative,” said Dr. Austin O’Brien, assistant professor in the Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences.

By playing the role of a black hat, “you can better understand how an attacker may think,” said Logan Sampson, a Dakota State University cyber operations major, so that when working as a white hat, “you know what to expect when you are defending your network against the very same kinds of hackers.”

Sampson is the captain of the CPTC team who participated in the CPTC, which was held at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri; other team members include cyber operations majors Dylan Johnson, Jacob Williams and Brian Vertullo. This is the first time a Dakota State team has participated in the CPTC. The win qualifies them for the national CPTC competition in Rochester, New York, on November 3 – 5. Hosts are the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and Computing Security, RIT’s computing security department.

“The thing that our team as a whole enjoyed about this competition is the fact that we actually got to attack a simulated real network,” Sampson said. “Instead of defending from attackers we got to pretend we were the attackers in order to strengthen the security of the company we were attacking.”

That is the purpose of the CPTC competitions. According to the national CPTC website, the competition “provides a vehicle for up-and-coming cybersecurity student teams to build and hone the skills required to effectively discover, triage and mitigate critical security vulnerabilities.”

The seven-hour-long competition was challenging, Sampson said, because they needed to attack many different machines at once, “but as a team we dispersed the boxes evenly between the four of us to limit the amount of work each person had to do. 

Teamwork can also breed new ideas. “By actively attempting to penetrate a system, different avenues of thought open up that might not be apparent when only ‘playing defense’,” O’Brien explained. “Working as a team, more options are brought to light and discussed, options which will help them complete their goal of gaining full access to the system.”

Sponsors of the competition include several businesses which need workers with knowledge of offensive and defensive strategies, including IBM, Crowe Horwath (a public accounting, consulting and technology firm), Uber (a transport company), Hurricane Labs (a managed security services provider), Eaton (a power management company), Indeed (an employment search engine company) and IEEE (an international technical professional organization).

Great Ideas for Holiday Gifts that Keep on Giving

The holidays come and go so quickly, and while many tokens of love and friendship are enjoyed and then forgotten, this year, consider items that make a more lasting impact.

Not sure where to start? Here three gift ideas that will keep on giving, all year long.

Taste Sensations, Delivered - These days, there are food subscription boxes for just about anything you can think of -- from exotic spices, to gourmet candies, to meats and delicacies. Take the tastes of your loved one into account and consider keeping their kitchen well-stocked all year long with monthly deliveries of amazing food and ingredients. These subscriptions make culinary variety, extravagance and exploration convenient for recipients, who need only await the arrival of their next boxed delivery with anticipation.

A Well-Honed Kitchen - Even serious home cooks who seem to have every new kitchen appliance available, may not realize how important it is to have a knife sharpener. When knives dull, they become more difficult and dangerous to wield, slowing food preparation and making slips of the wrist more likely to occur. But you can fix that for the cooks in your life.

Help loved ones to chop, slice and dice more efficiently and safely with a knife sharpener they can use as soon as knives begin to dull. Look for a model built to last through many uses. For example, the Compact Electric Knife Sharpener from Smith’s Consumer Products, features a synthetic sharpening wheel that guides the knife at the correct angle and has an ergonomic design that makes it easy and comfortable to use. To learn more, visit 

New Hobbies - Whether it’s salsa dance, classical guitar or French cooking, many centers that offer arts and music lessons allow gift-givers to buy credits for loved ones. This gives recipients an opportunity to select for themselves what they want to learn about on a schedule that works for them. But this gift goes far beyond a temporary diversion. Learning a skill offers lifelong opportunities for new pursuits, friendships and accomplishments.

Reconsider your holiday shopping strategy, focusing on items that will improve the lives of loved ones, well beyond the season. (StatePoint)


Marketing Assistance Loans Available for 2017 at FSA

The 2014 Farm Bill authorized 2014-2018 crop year Marketing Assistance Loans (MALs) and Loan Deficiency Payments (LDPs). 

MALs and LDPs provide financing and marketing assistance for corn and soybeans as well as other commodities such as small grains, and other oilseeds, pulse crops, rice, peanuts, cotton, wool and honey. MALs provide producers interim financing after harvest to help them meet cash flow needs without having to sell their commodities when market prices are typically at harvest-time lows. 

A producer who is eligible to obtain an MAL, but agrees to forgo the loan, may obtain an LDP if such a payment is available. 

To be eligible for an MAL or an LDP, producers must have a beneficial interest in the commodity, in addition to other requirements. A producer retains beneficial interest when control of and title to the commodity is maintained. For an LDP, the producer must retain beneficial interest in the commodity from the time of planting through the date the producer filed Form CCC-633EZ (page 1) in the FSA County Office. For more information, producers should contact their local FSA county office or view the LDP Fact Sheet.



Late Wednesday afternoon we received notice from Governor Mark Dayton that the federal government has granted Minnesota residents an extension through October 10, 2018, to comply with the Real ID law. This means that Minnesota residents may continue to use their driver’s licenses and identification cards for air travel  within the United States.

Previously the federal government had only issued the extension until January 22, 2018, but  this new extension will give the  State of Minnesota additional time to implement Real ID with their new Enhanced Driver’s Licenses. Keep in mind that you can use your Passport Book or Passport Card for identification for air travel and entrance to federal buildings and military bases.

The Recorder’s Office encourages residents to be proactive on the Real ID compliance and apply for your Passport Card or Passport Book to avoid potential problems with your travel plans in 2018.   The Recorder’s Office is open to accepting applications for either the Passport Book or Card on a daily basis from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm from Monday through Friday. You may also have your passport photo taken at the Recorder’s Office for a fee of $15 per person.


Grief Support Group

Hospice of Murray County will hold a bereavement group for adults at the Hospice of Murray County office in Slayton. It is for 6 sessions , on Tuesdays, and  will  begin  on  Tuesday  November  7th   and   will  continue   through Tuesday, December 12th, 2017, from 4:00 - 5:30 PM.

There is no cost for the bereavement support group as it is sponsored by Totzke Funeral Home of Fulda and Slayton, and Hospice of Murray County. Pre-registrations are appreciated so materials can  be  put  together.  You can pre-register by calling the Hospice office at 507-836-8114 by Friday November 3rd.

This bereavement group is not just for those family members served by hospice, but  all adults who have lost  a  loved one.


Rebel Pride at MCC Elementary

PBIS (Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports) is a program that is used nation-wide to teach, promote, and encourage positive behaviors and school atmosphere.  MCC Elementary has been involved in using the PBIS Program since 2011.  We affectionately refer to it as “Rebel Pride”.

Our three primary school-wide behavior expectations are “Be Respectful, Be Responsible, and Be Ready to Learn.”  At the beginning of each school year, students are given a “passport”.  They use this passport to travel to each area of the school (classroom, playground, hallway, etc.) and learn the specific behavior rules for that area.  This fall, students were rewarded with a Passport Picnic when they had completed learning all of the school rules.  The Murray County Pork Producers came out and grilled a pork burger lunch for all of our elementary students.  A big thank you to our kitchen staff and the Pork Producers for making the picnic a great event!  

Now that all of our students have been taught the school rules, we continue to promote good behaviors by awarding Rebel Pride slips to students when they display outstanding behavior.  Slips can then be drawn for individual prizes or saved by the teachers to meet a specific classroom goal.  When the goal is met, classes can earn rewards such as extended recess or a popcorn and movie party.  The entire elementary school is also working toward a BIG goal of 20,000 Rebel Pride slips to earn a school carnival!

Rebel Pride also includes personal encouragement, such as sending positive postcards or emails home to parents, staff members recognizing and supporting each other’s efforts, and a Rebel Pride Program that will be held once each quarter.  The Rebel Pride Program will be a fun time to gather all of our students and staff together to celebrate each other’s achievements, as well as reinforcing our “Three R’s” – Be Respectful, Be Responsible, and Be Ready to Learn!  Please ask our students to tell you about the “Three R’s” and encourage them to use great behavior at home, in the community, and everywhere they go! 

Nikki Cheskie
MCC Elementary Mental Health Coordinator


Pioneer Day Thank You

The 2nd graders had an awesome Pioneer Day on Friday, October 13.  They started the day at the Murray County Historical Museum.  Thank you to Gaylene Chapman from the museum.  Janet Timmerman, Case Vos, and Dennis Miller taught the students how to press apples to make apple cider.  Luann Parker showed the children how to make butter with a churn.  Margaret Kluis was in the log cabin and shared stories about pioneer life.  The students learned about flint and fire starting with Leon Carney.  Travis Spartz, Joe Biren, Wes Biren, Bob Ossefort, and Siebe Muller  brought their teams of horses to school and gave the children a ride in their wagons.  In the afternoon students participated in several pioneer activities…stitching samplers, cat’s cradle, marbles, quill pen writing, cornhusk wreaths and checkers in the classrooms with Mrs. Gillette, Mrs.Bobeldyk and Mrs. Fraser.

We had a great day!

THANK YOU to all our volunteers who helped make it a memorable day!

Travis Spartz, Bob Ossefort, Joe Biren, Wes Biren, Siebe Miller, Amy Kruse, Nico Doom, Sharie Bergman, Katie Kremer, Julie Kautz, Robin Gilbertson, Kim Schreier, Cassidy Paulzine, Ali Joens, Robyn Miller, Cindy Vogel, Missy Biren, Danica Hegstad, Wanda Moline, Crystal Reith, Christa Burton, Jesse Kline, Erin Scandrett, Sue Clarke, Cheryl Heard, Sarah Carlson, Megan Schryvers, Marilyn Carlson, Faith Prins, Shari Schreier, Lauren Biegler, Mike Larson, Emily Ahlquist, Tami Hellewell, Natalie Schmidt, Pam Holmes, Sarah Johnson, Jolene Johnson.


United Way of Southwest Minnesota Celebrates Jumpstart’s Read for the Record®

The United Way of Southwest Minnesota is participating in Jumpstart’s Read for the Record. This year marks the eleventh anniversary of the program. Quackers by Liz Wong will be read by community volunteers to PreK – 2nd grade students at schools, libraries, preschools, and daycare centers in Lyon, Lincoln, Murray, Yellow Medicine and portions of Cottonwood, Lac qui Parle, Nobles and Redwood counties on Thursday October 26, 2017. Jumpstart’s Read for the Record is an annual reading celebration that highlights the need for quality early education in America by mobilizing adults and children to set a record for the largest shared reading experience.

Schools participating are: Murray County Central, Russel-Tyler-Ruthton,  St. Mary’s (Tracy), St. Peter’s (Canby), Tracy Public School, and Westbrook- Walnut Grove.

Libraries participating are: Fulda, Slayton and Westbrook. 

Child Care and Preschool Centers participating are: Trinity Pre-School (Slayton), and Wonder World Pre-School (Slayton).   Quackers will also be read live on the radio at 1:30 p.m. on October 26 on 1400 KMHL.